Are student loans fit for purpose ?

(94 Posts)
cumfy Thu 22-Aug-13 14:31:53

I just wondered since there seems to be quite a few bursary/fee waiver offers dependent on proof of low income of the parents.

Surely this shouldn't be an issue any more ?

I would have hoped that if student loans were working properly, access would be equal and adequate for all.

mumeeee Thu 22-Aug-13 15:09:03

The student loan doesn't actually cover accomadation and other living costs.

SilverApples Thu 22-Aug-13 15:11:45

No, the amount it is possible for an adult of 18 to claim isn't enough to live on unless parents top it up, or they manage to do paid work as well as study.
It should be a level playing field for all students, with them paying back loans from their fabulous graduate salaries. But it isn't.

PearlyWhites Thu 22-Aug-13 16:06:12

But they can get a loan and a grant if parents are low income ( which really isn't that low) a total of 8k which is liveable.

AliceinSlumberland Thu 22-Aug-13 16:11:52

You don't get a full loan AND a full grant, you get a loan or grant. For every bit of grant you qualify for you get a bit less loan. So you don't get the full grant and the full loan.

Also the way they work it out is solely on income, not outgoings. A person may earn 40k but have 3 kids in uni, debt and a high mortgage etc, but this will not be considered. They earn 40k so the children will get no grant, and the loan on its own is not enough to live off.

Also if parents are separated it runs of the income of the household they live in. So if stepdad earns a lot, they child may get no grant but stepdad may not help them out at uni. There are quite a few flaws in the system, particularly for those who earn a middle sort of income. Often they qualify for no grant but parents do not earn enough to help and the loan doesn't even cover accommodation.

PearlyWhites Thu 22-Aug-13 16:16:50

Yes you do get both a loan and a grant if on low income.

AliceinSlumberland Thu 22-Aug-13 16:21:57

You get a loan and a grant but you don't get the full loan and the full grant - you get the grant on a low income and a reduced loan. To quote their website:

'The grant is paid into your bank account at the start of term. You don’t have to pay the grant back, but any grant you get will reduce 
the Maintenance Loan you can get.'

So you wouldn't get 8000, because if someone is getting the full 3000 grant, they won't recieve the full 5000 loan. Only those who get not grant get the full loan. The idea is that those on a lower income have less to pay back, so they get grant instead of loan.

SilverApples Thu 22-Aug-13 16:24:37

'The idea is that those on a lower income have less to pay back, so they get grant instead of loan.'

But why should that be relevant? You get the same degree as the next chap and go on to have the same opportunities and salary. So why the fuck isn't the grant option available to all?
Unless the governments have lied to us,a nd a degree isn't a magic key to wealth and success?

AliceinSlumberland Thu 22-Aug-13 16:26:04

Who knows, it's a bizarre system.

SilverApples Thu 22-Aug-13 16:41:57

Those on a lower income...it's not their income, it is that of their parents. Who will not be required to pay back anything, the graduate does, from their salary once it reaches a certain level.

PearlyWhites Thu 22-Aug-13 16:50:39

I put my income into the calculator and yes the loan was reduced to 3700 but the grant was also 3300 so was still 8k

PearlyWhites Thu 22-Aug-13 16:51:25

Sorry 7k my maths is dire!

It's impossible to live on the maximum amount you can borrow, so regardless of how it is sold, if you have poor parents, you're not going.

SilverApples Thu 22-Aug-13 17:07:29

Unless you have a part-time job as well.

Which don't exist.

MissMarplesBloomers Thu 22-Aug-13 17:10:44

And since when is a degree a magic key to wealth & success??! hmm

Plenty of degree kids working in McDonalds.

happyinherts Thu 22-Aug-13 17:12:17

Starlight I thought that yesterday- if you have poor parents you're not going.

Okay on the face of it there's a so called loan / grant system. However, uni wanted a £200 deposit for room months ago.

Then there's £120 for kit for practical lessons which needs ordering now.

Recommended book list which even second hand on ebay cost a fair bit

And this is all before student receives a penny piece from either grant or loan as nothing gets paid till Sept 16th.

There will also be additional costs of moving home - and I feel sad that this opportunity may be beyond a bright yet poorer student.

SilverApples Thu 22-Aug-13 17:12:29

Exactly.

SilverApples Thu 22-Aug-13 17:14:26

Sorry, that was to MissMarple.
What was bad about the old system?
You were clever enough to go, you got the grades and a grant, and you signed on in the summer holidays.

alreadytaken Thu 22-Aug-13 17:15:13

no the system isn't fit for purpose but young people with poor parents do go, they just have to find work and/or live at home and go to the closest university. If not living at home they also end up with substantial overdrafts. Sometimes grandparents help out a bit.

It can be more difficult for middle income families as they aren't always in a position to top up the amount the young person can borrow. There is a particular problem in London where no-one can live on grant+loan. I am very concerned about young medical student friends of my DC who are going to London and don't seem to know quite how bad it is going to get.

And don't forget basic living equipment and studying equipment like printer paper, a couple of pans and a bit of crockery, them stupid plastic wallets you're supposed to submit your essays in, laundrette money, an iron perhaps etc etc.

cumfy Thu 22-Aug-13 18:31:16

£8k is certainly very livable if the 3 summer months are spent at home.

It's pretty tight to cover the whole 12 months though.

Given that it's a loan, I can't see why it shouldn't be £9-10k

So what if the 3 months ARE spent at home?

How many landlords do you know offering 9 month contracts?

SilverApples Thu 22-Aug-13 18:40:56

DD came home for the summer. Old contract finished end of June, new contract started August. So she had a month out, but we still had to get the month's deposit and the rent for August, so it worked out the same.
<sigh>

SilverApples Thu 22-Aug-13 18:41:58

She's paid up, but living with us until the term starts to avoid having to pay for bills and food and laundry and...smile

larry5 Thu 22-Aug-13 19:19:04

Dd got the full grant and the maximum loan allowed with the grant and managed to live on that amount. While she was home during the holidays we fed her but did not ask for rent.

She made sure that she budgeted for holiday times so that after her rent had been paid she divided the rest of her money by 52 and only spent that amount as a maximum.

zizza Fri 23-Aug-13 09:34:32

Hubby and I have been discussing this a lot over the last few days! Uni students are adults and are treated as such in most ways - info isn't shared with parents unless consent given, they have to sign their leases, have their own accounts/loans etc - so why are parents' incomes so important? We fall into a middle income bracket I'd say, so dd only gets the loan, but if we decided not to give her extra money for some reason (we could be in severe debt, might've fallen out with her etc) she would not be able to go to uni as her loan doesn't even pay anywhere near her accommodation in the first year. How is that fair?

Imho everyone should get the same loan and there should only be grants for low income families to help out much earlier with initial expenses like accommodation deposit/first payment, initial expenses (books/equipment/special clothing).

Moominmammacat Fri 23-Aug-13 09:47:52

It's a dreadful system. The thought of paying nine per cent of your income for evermore to service the interest on the debt ... And still most won't repay the loan. It's 6'6 % interest, you know ...

wordfactory Fri 23-Aug-13 09:48:00

No I don't think it is!

The loans for fees are fine. Everyone can get them and yes, the repayments are doable.

However, the loans for living expenses are based to a certain extent upon a student's parents' income. The assumption is that the parents will make up the shortfall. And many can't/won't.

Also, even if a student can access the full loan it doesn't always cover everything. I work in one univeristy where accommodation is very reasonable and there is tons of help. But I work in another slap bang in the middle of London and the univeristy accommodation is sparce and private rentals are high.

wordfactory Fri 23-Aug-13 09:49:48

Sorry pressed too soon. So the assumption is that parents will still help out even if the student can access the lot. And many parents can't/won't.

We're soon going to have a system where only those with willing and able parents can access the best universities and courses and the rest will stay at home and go to their nearest.

TheAwfulDaughter Fri 23-Aug-13 10:04:57

All landlords in uni towns offer around 9 month contracts. My one last year was 41 week and I came home in summer.

But to answer the question, they're not. I certainly believe grants should be available to students from low income backgrounds- but we need a system that gives all students the same loan.

I disagree with the concept of smaller loans but bigger grants for those from low income families. I don't see how your future student loan repayments have anything to do with what your mum and dad earn.

We standardised loan, tailored to the accommodation prices and living costs of that region, for everyone- with grants at the start of each term to help low income families who have trouble with moving costs and getting their kids set up, books bought, transport, ect...

TheAwfulDaughter Fri 23-Aug-13 10:05:33

All landlords in uni towns offer around 9 month contracts. My one last year was 41 week and I came home in summer.

But to answer the question, they're not. I certainly believe grants should be available to students from low income backgrounds- but we need a system that gives all students the same loan.

I disagree with the concept of smaller loans but bigger grants for those from low income families. I don't see how your future student loan repayments have anything to do with what your mum and dad earn.

We need standardised loan, tailored to the accommodation prices and living costs of that region, for everyone- with grants at the start of each term to help low income families who have trouble with moving costs and getting their kids set up, books bought, transport, ect...

TheAwfulDaughter Fri 23-Aug-13 10:16:40

I do have a massive chip on my shoulder about this subject though. I've worked since I was 14 throughout GCSEs and A-levels, and I thought with uni I could finally focus on something as I would get a loan. wrooooong

Family are about a grand over the threshold and I'm in minimum territory. I get a food allowance from them, and my shortfall found for my rent, but I work about 24 hours a week at uni. I'm fine, definitely not in student poverty, but oh my- it irks me so much the Facebook status go up around bursary and loan time where people are booking holidays and exclaiming 'Topshop time' and thanking student finance England. Especially when I have friends over the threshold who are student poverty due to tight parents, disabled siblings who have to have their education privately or lack of jobs in the area.

happyinherts Fri 23-Aug-13 14:37:55

And scholarships???? My son has received two. The national scholarship for 'disadvantaged students' (low income etc) and a elite sports award. In total these would be £3000. However, granted by means of payment of tuition fee for £1000 and accommodation loan £2000.

Just how is that helpful to a poor student needing nearly £200 of kit, plus sports membership fees and travel? Unimpressed that this total is deducted from total loan which will only show a gain when student in employment earning over a certain amount - and by then I guess interest / inflation will have eaten that up.

So much for helping poorer students with scholarships. Seriously unimpressed.

SlowlorisIncognito Fri 23-Aug-13 14:41:50

No, they aren't.

1- They are paid too late. I understand why SFE want proof of attendance, but universities will ask for accomadation deposits (and sometimes the first rent payment!) before the first payment will be recieved. Also, the equiptment/textbooks universities ask students to buy will often cost £100-300, even if bought second hand. Many 18 year olds don't have access to, say £600 before they've even started. This puts students from less well off backgrounds at an imediate disadvantage.

2- They often aren't enough to live on, once rent has been taken into account. Rent in halls is often very high, and even renting a room in a shared house is more expensive in student areas. Being charged £5000 for halls is not uncommon. This leaves the majority of students reliant on family support or getting a part time job. Even with the maximum loan/grant available, a student would struggle to absorb an unexpected emergancy cost.

3- Household income is an inadequate way of means testing for all sorts of reasons. It's also wrong to expect parents to support their adult children who have left home.

4- The system of applying is pretty complicated and off-putting. Staff at call centres often give conflicting advice. The system is very slow moving if you have a change of circumstance. Ultimately, this results in late payment of loans for students, meaning they can end up facing real financial hardship.

I think a standardised maintenence loan, for all students, is fairest. It should absolutely cover the cost of living (including a small emergancy fund) and being able to buy all course materials. The application process would then be simplified. First year students should get an advance on their loan paid when they complete online enrollment at their university, so they can put a deposit down on accomadation and buy everything they need for uni.

twistyfeet Fri 23-Aug-13 14:52:02

Both my boys are in the same university town and they have not found one landlord that offers a 41 week contract. So they pay for 52 weeks leaving them £1000 for food/travel/books etc for the year. Both come home in the summer and we feed them out of our benefits. Its fucking tough. Last year one managed to find a part time summer job, this year neither did despite hundreds of applications.
And we still havent heard about this years grant/loan despite doing the paperwork months ago <bangs head on desk>
Number 1 wants to do a Masters degree. There's no funding for that but all PhD's seem to require them now. No idea what we will do as we cannot feed him for a whole year while he does a Masters and how will he pay for it?

fussychica Sat 24-Aug-13 11:36:54

DS is English but studying at university in Wales so not entitled to anything under the National Scholarship programme.

Be aware that if your DCs are going to Uni outside England the level of bursaries/grants/scholarships available to them may be quite different/non existent compared to those going to a university in England.

BeckAndCall Sat 24-Aug-13 11:42:22

Well I don't know what towns you're referring to awfuldaughter. But they certainly don't include either of the two cities where my DC are at uni! Only 12month contracts aRe available through private landlords there.

And funnily enough, in conversation with other friends with kids the same age at unis in other cities across the UK, that's not their experience either.

So another one pointing out here that the student loan doesn't even cover the cost of accommodation.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 11:49:56

Some PhDs have funding. Masters generally do not.

cumfy Sat 24-Aug-13 13:59:53

I am surprised that some are experiencing the availability of only 12 month tenancies.

Even if there are few specific 9 month contracts being offered, most shorthold contracts run on a 6 month + month-by-month roll over of the tenancy.

Clearly, students can just give notice at month 8 on such tenancies.

BeckAndCall Sat 24-Aug-13 14:14:27

Stunt lets just don't work at way, cumfy

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 14:19:25

There used to be a few 9 month student let contracts, but they are getting less and less, to the point of not even bothering to look or expect them any more.

PlotTwist Sat 24-Aug-13 14:34:22

The amount of money needed is frightening. My ds is off to uni in a couple of weeks. Already I've had to find £400 for his Halls deposit. Not a massive sum, but I'm on JSA. If he was going to the local uni, I'd be happy for him to live at home and not charge him any sort of board money, but his uni course is at the other end of the country. Trying to get the money together for the stuff he needs to take with him (on top of the school stuff needed by his younger sisters) has been a worry. I'm trying to support him as much as I can, but financially, it's very worrying.

cumfy Sat 24-Aug-13 15:27:48

I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say Beck, but 6 month shorthold tenancies are very standard.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 15:31:51

For students hmm
Which university towns?

sayithowitis Sat 24-Aug-13 19:28:16

DC1 has been in a couple of shared student houses and we have always acted as guarantor. This means we have copies of the tenancy agreements. In every one it has been made clear that the tenancy is for a full 12 month year and that even if the students give notice earlier, there will be a penalty equivalent to the number of months rent still left to pay.

DC1 gets the usual student loans for tuition and maintenance. He gets an extra maintenance loan which is means tested against DH and my income. He also gets a grant, again means tested against DH and my income. However, he actually only receives half the grant on top of his loans as the other half is used by student finance to reduce the amount of his loans. All well and good that it reduces what he needs to pay back, BUT it doesn't help him with his expenses now, so it means that we still have to try to find some food money for him each month as like some others on here, his course requires a lot of lab time and coursework which pretty much makes it impossible for him to find a job that would fit in, quite apart from the fact that there are so few jobs around in any case.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 19:38:44

Most if not all unis offer some bursaries for specific reasons.
Also look into being a sponsored graduate as that is available with some courses.
But agree, the mjority of students will not have access to this funding if they dont meet the relevant criteria.
But it is worth looking into, and worth looking into especially if a young person is torn between various choices of uni.

happyinherts Sat 24-Aug-13 19:44:44

My son has an elite sports scholarship from his university to start next month. The criteria for that was not easy to achieve - one of them was to be a GB International.

We are deemed to be a disadvantaged family - in receipt of the National Scholarship - yet both these scholarships are to be deducted from student loan, so my son will not see a penny of it until finally paying off his loan.

The sports kit for uni will probably amount to near on £200 and I would have assumed an elite sports scholarship would have provided help with sport associated costs - not so unfortunately

MrsHoarder Sat 24-Aug-13 19:50:52

The problem us that in university Towns the landlords match the rent to the standard loan as middle-class parents will give an allowance. Doesn't matter what the loan is, in moat Towns student rent will match it.

By giving students from families who really can't afford to top up a bit more, they can then afford to eat.

BeckAndCall Sat 24-Aug-13 22:30:05

cumfy not for student lets they're not, I'm afraid. Many of us on here wish they were, I'm sure, but they're just not.

DalmationDots Sun 25-Aug-13 09:14:11

DD is at Bristol and there are very very few student housing contracts less than 12 months. DS is in London and it is totally different, he can find accommodation weeks before needing to move in and only rent for 9 months. His accommodation is, of course, very expensive though although his loan accounts for this.

Both get no assistance from anyone, before they started we felt very guilty and worried if they would be able to survive and not get in too greater debt. They worked all summer though and prior to university had Saturday jobs where they put money towards uni and cope just fine.

The way you pay back Student Finance (if you began uni in 2011 or before) is IMO reasonable and will not impact DC too much compared to their peers whose parents paid for everything... who seem to be a large majority from my DC's experiences but maybe that is not reflective of everyone.

I suspect with the 9k fees (which we luckily just avoided) it is all much tougher though.

yellowballoons Sun 25-Aug-13 09:19:19

London may be different because, they have got all those tourists who can take some short term places. Plus graduates start jobs in London from June onwards.

notallytuts Sun 25-Aug-13 23:14:33

Absolutely not fit for purpose. My friends at uni from low income families had nearly 10k a year and less than half of that was loans! Friends from families with higher income, who for whatever reason couldnt bankroll them, got the minimum loan (less than 4k) and very minimal contributions from parents on top.

Student finance decrease the amount of loan you get by 50p for each pound of grant that you are entitled to - so not only do students from 'richer' families have bigger loans to pay back, they have less money to live off in the mean time too.

The same money should be available to everyone. Student accomodation pricing has gone up stupid amounts in the last 5 years!

SilverApples Sun 25-Aug-13 23:21:33

DD's maintenance loan is apparently £3,300. Which is exactly the 11 months rent she needs to pay from August 2013 to June 2014.
So she has nothing to pay bills, food, transport, clothes...etc.

So as a 22 year old adult, she is left with few options. As are we.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 10:49:41

low income families dont get nearly 10K a year! I wish! Un;ess you are counting the fee loan as well which everyone gets. Or a bursery from a rich university like Oxford.

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 11:53:44

Well my son's is £9670.00 maintenance loan and grant

Tuition fee is £8200 paid direct from student finance to uni

He will receive £9670 split into 3 installments, sept jan april

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:02:57

ds is astonished. He gets full grant and loan is its roughly £6500. As is ds2's. We are on benefits.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:14:21

ah, might be because he started in 2011 and is outside London. But it sucks as his rent (12 month cotract is £5200)

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 12:14:41

We have a far lower income with minimum wage pt income and no benefits or tax credit / child benefit now

That is what was awarded together with national scholarship for disadvantaged student of £2000 to be deducted off loan when repayments eventually come into play

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 12:16:35

My son's accommodation is outside London and is only a few pennies short of £5000

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:19:57

ds2 starts this year and should get the loan of £5500 and grant of £3,354 but despite having all the info from May, exactly the same as his brother we've heard nothing from Student Finance except repeated requests for pay slips we dont have. I've made repeated calls <sob>. He starts in 3 weeks! And needs a Hall deposit we dont have.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:21:05

What is the Disadvantaged scholarship?

cumfy Mon 26-Aug-13 12:27:13

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 11:53:44

Well my son's is £9670.00 maintenance loan and grant

That sounds very straightforward to survive on; is that the standard loan ?

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 12:28:54

Its called National Scholarship - administrated by university with general criteria for disadvanted students

ie, family income under £25000 First in family to enter higher education etc

Millais Mon 26-Aug-13 12:30:44

How much do you think a student needs after rent has been paid in self catering accommodation? Trying to do the sums here.
I know there are threads but my search isn't working and I can not specify which subjects I want or time scale!
Thanks

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:32:13

Clearly not if you add up the figures for max loan and max grant
here
Its £8854 which is a lot better than pre 2013 students used to get which was £6500 max. Hence ds1 still getting that while ds2 should get £2k more despite them paying the same amount in rent.
There is now some bitching going on in my house as you can imagine! grin

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:38:42

Millais, ds1 has managed living on £1500 roughly a year. He walks everywhere, lives on rice and beans and doesnt drink. Pretty often he descends on us and eats which stretches our benefits. He doesnt buy clothes. It is do-able but loads are in the same boat. dd was richer but she went to a university that gave burseries. She also walked everywhere but had a textbook heavy course. Her grandparents gave her a nook (?) and eBooks were cheaper than real ones. It does look like my ds2 will be rolling in cash compared to his siblings. The rent will take the entire loan but he can live on that grant easy.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:49:40

WTF. I just did the Student finance calculator and according to it, because ds2 qualifies for the full grant of £3354, he will only get a loan of £3823. I didnt know they reduced the loan if you got the grant.
So £7177.

Minus the rent of £5200.

He is not going to be happy. So he will be living on £1900 for the year. I hope Physics books arent expensive.

JustGettingOnWithIt Mon 26-Aug-13 15:39:34

Twisty yes, the more grant/s you get, the less you’re allowed to borrow.

We’re on a very low income, ds (1st to go to uni) will get combined loan and grant s of £6592, to go to a London uni, from home (but not walkable) and in theory will have more annually to live off than me.

But reality is, we think he’ll be paying around £600 in travel and council will have around £4,680 of it for rent, leaving him 1,312 for everything else, and us combining budgets for food etc. (Praying the council don’t hit him for CT too)

The expense of this fresher’s week malarkey worries me as well, but he’s deferred for a year so every penny will be put aside and it looks like 2014 students may get a £540 long courses loan as well, (hopes they don’t knock it off the grant!) but we think his share of expected rent increase £260 (actual increase is double) will leave him at £1602.

He’s happy as he thinks he’ll be set up for good earnings later, I’m a bit worried tbh, but we got this far so…

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 17:03:42

Library, and a lot of the stuff/powerpoints from lectures will be posted on the uni intranet.

Katkins1 Mon 26-Aug-13 17:23:06

I'm a single Mum and in my third year of undergrad, on the old loans system. Student loans ARE liveable off, you just have to live very cheaply, I don't drive, don't go abroad (some friends from uni have been 3 times this year!), festivals, shop at topshop, have take- away or blow a huge amount in the student bar (in fact, I don't drink at all). Lots of my friends live with , or get help, from their parents. and/or work. If I didn't have a little one, I'd be working my way through University too.

It's harder for me than other students, at the minute, I've struggled for school uniform and everything, I don't know how I will cope until my next instalment comes from SFE. It's paid way too late.

I leave my house at 6.50am to get my dd to child-minders and me on the bus in time. I have to watch every penny, and never get the holidays that they do- or the rest. I run a house and do everything on my own, as I have no family to help. I also have PTSD.

I get around 4k of student loan, some grant and 80% of childcare paid, I pay the rest myself. I buy books, my laptop, everything... out of my loan. So, the point I'm trying to make is that it is a struggle (hugely!), but do-able. Great, if parents support their kids at uni, but remind them its a privilege, not a right.

And because its my money that I will be paying back, I work hard, and get a first (not boasting there, but that's part of my motivation. I can't stand it when I see other students not turning up, and wasting SFE grants and all that wonderful family support.). So, they need to learn to make their loans last. 20% of mine goes straight on childcare. There's no fall back plan for me, so I try and save where I can. It's really, really hard though.

If, as a parent, you can't afford to support them through uni, they can get a part-time job. Sorry to sound harsh, but this is a learning curve for any student. Money management is part of growing up.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 17:32:30

I agree Katkins. Budgeting is a life lesson. DS1 is fed up when part of his study group fail to show up because they cant be arsed. ffs, they are taking out loans most of them that have to be paid back and they cant be bothered to get out of bed. The richer ones whose parents bankroll them piss about and dont appreciate the chance they are getting and stop the others learning when they are lab groups or partners. DS has aspergers so is very serious about this and has a real go at them.

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Aug-13 17:47:36

*WTF. I just did the Student finance calculator and according to it, because ds2 qualifies for the full grant of £3354, he will only get a loan of £3823. I didnt know they reduced the loan if you got the grant.
So £7177*

Minus the rent of £5200

It seems that whatever your circumstances (we're at the other end of the scale, the max DS can get is £3,300 and no bursaries/grants), they're going to struggle.

As it happens, I am able to pay the £5k DS needs for accommodation, but what he would do if he were estranged I don't know.

Just not go, I guess.

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Aug-13 17:48:54

What date to they get the first instalment of the loan btw? DS starts on 7th September and I suspect he won't get any loan till late September?

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 18:04:55

I think DD is getting hers on 21st.
We've already stumped up for rent in August, September and the deposit. She'll need to have cash from 14th to live on.
Katkins, it is very hard to find jobs that fit around the course and don't require late nights and no transport. I'm delighted that you are managing, DD will struggle without us as the MG exactly matches her rent.
I want grants for everyone, and the only barrier being academic ability to do the course.

Katkins1 Mon 26-Aug-13 18:13:24

I agree grants for all. And the student finance will not be paid on the date stated, it never is, so make sure she has enough to last her a bit longer. Sometimes, it takes a week because of enrolment and admin. Sorry to tell you that, but I've been there and its a real pain.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 18:21:33

I agree, grants for all. These students are adults and its ridiculous that parental income should be relied upon. So far the loan has always arrived in time and when dd and ds1 were in Halls they waited for the deposit as no way could we stump up before hand. I have no idea what we will do if ds2's is late as the SF is dicking about. You'd think given as they have all our financial details stretching back 4 years this wouldnt be an issue but noooooooo......

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Aug-13 20:03:18

I don't have any objection to loans for all, being the same for everyone except for a London weighting. So my DS, coming from a relatively comfortable background, should be able to borrow as much as someone whose parents don't work. Level playing field for all, that way.

I don't see, however, how the country could afford grants for all.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 20:16:44

it could if we went back to not needing degrees to shelf stack at Tesco's like it used to be.
There must be a balance between the ridiculous elitism where only the rich went (I was the only person off my estate to go and I refuse to believe I was the only person capable back then in the 80's) and now when it seems everyone and her dog goes and does 'Leisure studies'.
But then I also think education pays the country back and is worth investing in or we wouldnt bother educating to 18 would we? So perhaps we should invest £5 a year for our young people, if able, to do free degrees.
Mixed and rambling thoughts there.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 20:17:22

that would be £5k
blush
Clearly I didnt do Maths...

OttilieKnackered Mon 26-Aug-13 21:24:16

SFE are a sick joke. The three years I was at university, (2006-2009) not once did they pay the first instalment on time, leading to major rent problems.

To address a few other issues brought up:

I see the point of those saying that it should be equal loans for all, but that can end up just as unfair, because the majority of comfortably off parents DO help their kids out. I knew a lot of people who claimed the loan then stuck the whole lot in an ISA as mummy and daddy were paying their rent.

The maintenance loan is only slightly different for those living at home/away. It's ludicrous. Clearly rent is going to be the biggest outlay. How is that accounted for with a £1000 per year difference?

Why do all degrees cost the same? The only resources needed for my English degree were the books already in the library and the four hours contact time per week. How can that possibly cost the same as a science degree with full time hours and lots of equipment?

This is a subject that enrages me.

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 21:27:06

'I don't see, however, how the country could afford grants for all.'

By ensuring that the grade requirements were high, and by making anyone who dropped out revert to paying back the grant once their income hit £21,000 or whatever the threshold is now. In the same way they would have done a loan.

yellowballoons Mon 26-Aug-13 21:49:13

But if the grade requirements are high, we are back to only 5 or 10% going to uni.
Though not such a bad thing imo.

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 22:00:56

I think that is what unis should be, academic centres of excellence. Combined with a massive apprenticeship programme for skills-based careers.
Equal but different.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 22:01:58

the grade requirements should be high. Degrees arent smarties. They should be HARD!

alreadytaken Mon 26-Aug-13 22:16:18

the government is trying to up the grade requirements by allowing universities as many students above a certain level as they can take.

The rational behind loans for those at home is that they may still be paying rent, some families can't afford to go on housing an adult child.

Drop outs have to pay back their loans.

As interest rates are well above inflation only a fool takes the loan and puts in in an ISA now.

Science degrees are subsidised by the government, I dont think universites get anything from the government now for arts courses.

alreadytaken Mon 26-Aug-13 22:18:57

the government is trying to up the grade requirements by allowing universities as many students above a certain level as they can take.

The rational behind loans for those at home is that they may still be paying rent, some families can't afford to go on housing an adult child.

Drop outs have to pay back their loans.

As interest rates are well above inflation only a fool takes the loan and puts in in an ISA now.

Science degrees are subsidised by the government, I dont think universites get anything from the government now for arts courses.

alreadytaken Mon 26-Aug-13 22:20:31

sorry I think I'm ging to have to stop posting from this machine as it double posts and then freezes on me.

JustGettingOnWithIt Mon 26-Aug-13 22:53:39

Totally agree that money management is part of growing up but ds’s uni has actively specified they don’t want him working during term because of the difficulties sn’s are going to cause anyway with study. I'm hoping he’ll be able to get work in the holidays, if not then we’ll get by somehow.

He’s done very well to get in (and to find a decent uni that can see past his difficulties and are prepared to support his ambitions) but experience says he'll probably have to work twice as long and hard as most to get himself through a degree, (with the potential of him buggering it up quite high) but it’s a great opportunity.

I already know some question if someone like him should go, but while he may not be as good an all-rounder as many others, as in able to study, live independently and work simultaneously, he is intelligent and potentially has a lot to offer back through receiving degree level education, and while we’d be massively better off financially, it would actually cost everyone else considerably more to keep him on the low expectations SN path expected of him as well as wasting his potential.

I don’t think anyone should be penalised well off or not and think if we don’t invest in educating people at whatever level they’re capable of and interested in, we’re storing up a lot of problems for later.

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 22:59:21

Money management is a life skill, but you need the money in the first place.

Katkins1 Mon 26-Aug-13 23:54:01

Justgettingonwithit, I was in in the same sort of situation. I am also deaf; so it was quite hard for me and I don't work in term-time, I couldn't find a job this holiday either. But I'm still Ok (slightly, but not massively overdrawn, with three weeks until I get SF). Like II said, I have PTSD and I work so hard and so long for my grades, especially as I've not done GCSE or A-Level in my subject area (mature student).

Disabled Students can get housing benefit, I've heard, so he might qualify. He could also try access to learning funds. I agree with you- there is a lot to be gained from degree level. I want to teach in HE now, I've loved my degree.

It can be done, you just need to be careful. It can be very, very tempting when friends are going out, on holiday and everything, not to mention disheartening. But I always think of the long term gain. In the long run, graduates end up on better salaries. Not me though, I'm going on to an MA (I hope!).

Silverapples, I was on benefits before uni (long story, quite a horrible time). I started with nothing, I have nothing more. But I'm a lot more intelligent than when I began. So, you don't need all that much money. Just coffee, lots and lots of coffee, to study.

Fuzzymum1 Tue 27-Aug-13 11:15:01

DS will get part grant and part loan with a total just below £7k - His (partially catered) halls accommodation is just below £4700. He could live on the rest but my parents have offered to top his income up by £200 a month - he's planning to save as much of that as he can to make next year a little easier as he will have to find a room to rent somewhere. He's also only 15 miles from home and plans to come home at weekends to continue with his part time job. He will be able to walk to uni this year as the halls are about 1/2 a mile away but who knows where he will be next year.

Two of his friends who are at the same uni haven't be able to afford to pay the deposit on halls so are having to live at home and commute - something only possible because they're going to a local uni. Student finance needs to make a small part of the finance available to low income students so they can at least book their accommodation - or the accommodation need to be a bit more flexible. Thankfully we could play his deposit and have set him up with a basic kit of stuff but I know one of his friends parents would struggle to to do either.

TheAlphaandtheOmega Wed 28-Aug-13 19:47:57

The thing is its not just this years halls rent that has to be paid, when the student sorts out the shared house for next year there's stuff like deposits, agency fees and part of the rent to pay and all to come out of this years loan/grant/bank of parent.

Chunderella Fri 06-Sep-13 08:29:16

Katkins I'm sorry but it's very naive to say that students can just get a part time job if they don't have enough to live on. Those are like gold dust now. It simply isn't a realistic option for many, which means it isn't a viable solution to the problem of loans and grants not covering living costs. Which they don't always, even if they do for you.

Best of luck with your studies.

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